So…Seminary?

As my senior year of college approaches, I reflect upon my summer of rediscovery. As with the multiple periods in my short life that have been a complete 180, a realization that life is out of my control to an extent, a reminder to keep moving forward, even if that means trudging on a new path.

In comes today’s ramblings. If you couldn’t tell by the title already, I am very much considering seminary as an option for my future. To be honest, this was never a path that really crossed my mind when considering what I wanted to do in life. I knew I wanted to write and somehow help people in the process. I had thought about graduate school at one time or another, but with studying Media & Journalism, that didn’t seem feasible.

And as much as it really tugged at my soul, someone is constantly striving toward the next goal and moving at a fast pace, I know that my pitfalls in the past months have been necessary. I don’t think I would have fully understood the reality of working in the ever-changing world of media without seeing its darker sides.

So why seminary? I’ve talked about spirituality occasionally here, but I’ve always avoided going too in-depth that might narrow my audience and alienate people who believe differently than me. I grew up going to church every so often. I was baptized as a baby and confirmed before entering high school. But I must admit, as open-minded as I consider myself to be, I can still be overly critical of how some people go about living their faith. I couldn’t understand why you’d share Bible verses on social media, why missionary groups saved up money to go to China or Mexico, why people openly admitted their beliefs without hesitating.

I have been at different stages where I was drawn to and away from spirituality. I thought spirituality was an important aspect to overall wellness, but I felt like I was walking on coals when trying to talk about it. Sometimes I got into a decent routine of prayer and devotional and Bible reading, but then I’d slip up one day and drift away. Like anything else, I was striving toward a level of perfection, an all-or-nothing mentality that dabbled in Christianity whenever I remembered or was in desperate need of help.

Regardless of your beliefs, I think that’s a common misconception of any religious person: you must do everything right. You need to read the Bible every day, go on a mission trip, attend church every Sunday to show yourself worthy. That’s probably why in recent years, I stepped away from straight-forward Christianity altogether and called myself, as many other young people do, “spiritual but not religious.” Trying to find a pull toward various Eastern beliefs that I’ve come to realize weren’t meant for me.

If they do for you, that’s awesome. If you are Jewish or Muslim, cool beans. Even if you’re agnostic or atheist, at least you know where you stand. But rather than rebelling from my roots and finding peace in ideas that somehow go against the grain, I’ve wandered through different challenges trying to find a home elsewhere, but at the end of the day, I have to go back to where I feel I belong. I am proud to say I am one of many people out there who believe in God and Jesus. I am willing to admit that I am sinful, that I’m not a perfect Christian who knows all the answers and does everything right. I am just a human like anybody else.

Would people associate me with ministry work? I don’t really know. Again, I’m still hesitant about being overly upfront because I know how uncomfortable it can feel when people shove their beliefs down others’ throats. But at the end of the day, the image of what it means to be “pastor material” or a “perfect Christian” are just man-made concepts. If we feel a calling toward a certain opportunity, regardless of what that may be, we don’t have to explain ourselves to others. Where the heart calls, we should follow. We are the sheep led by a shepherd toward our unique purposes on this planet.

I still hope to write and perhaps publish a book down the road, but when thinking of a place where I could be of help to others and feel passionate about my work, seminary is a real contender. We’ll see where my head’s at after figuring out my gap year of (fingers crossed) volunteering abroad, either teaching English or doing missionary work.

And, might I add, I am beyond excited for what the future brings. It can be scary to think of walking in a brand new direction you haven’t envisioned for yourself, unknown terrain. Change truly happens outside of your comfort zone, outside of what you assume is right for you. Life has a funny way of surprising us with things even better than expected.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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